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Clean Ideas: Simple Steps to a Clean & Healthy New Year

Resolutions to Help Keep Everyone Healthy

Here are half a dozen ways to make the New Year a cleaner and healthier year for you and everyone around you.

  1. Get a Flu Shot. While flu season starts to peak in November, the heaviest months for flu are December through March. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that provide protection against influenza infection to develop in the body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( recommends that all Americans 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot each year.
  2. Wash Your Hands. According to the CDC, the single most important thing we can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others is to clean our hands. Critical handwashing times include:
    • Before and after preparing or eating food
    • Before and after tending to someone who is sick
    • Before and after treating a cut or wound
    • After using the toilet
    • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
    • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
    • After handling an animal or animal waste
    • After handling garbage
  3. Spread the Word, Not the Germs. Help others learn the importance of handwashing for good health. The American Cleaning Institute's Hooray for Handwashing materials can be used in nursery schools, day care centers and at home to teach pre-schoolers the importance of washing their hands. Posters, bookmarks and fact sheets are also available for use in work or school settings. Visit for an overview of materials that can be downloaded or ordered online.


  1. Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes. "Droplet spread" is a major culprit in spreading cold and flu germs. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it away. If there's no tissue in reach, bend your arm and cough or sneeze into your elbow. The idea is that people are less likely to touch each other's arms than each other's hands. But no matter what cover-up you use, promptly wash your hands.
  2. Keep Food Preparation Surfaces Clean. This includes countertops, cutting boards and utensils. Use the appropriate cleaning product for each surface to help remove bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. Use a disinfectant cleaning product to kill those bacteria. Clean these surfaces thoroughly and often.
  3. Donate Handwashing Supplies. The MLK Day of Service is a great way to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday on January 17th. The goal is to "Make It a Day On, Not a Day Off" by getting involved in community service that helps solve social problems and tangible needs. Homeless shelters and food banks are always in need of handwashing and cleaning supplies.

happy new year